Let’s talk about every accounting firm’s favorite topic: Generating new accounting clients. If you want to be a successful accounting practice, you must keep a steady stream of new clients—while holding on to current clients.
But finding clients can be difficult when you’re just starting out. Where do you go to find accounting clients? And, once you’re there, how do you set yourself apart as the top choice in a sea of other accounting firms?
In this post, we’ll discuss the top tips for attracting new clients to your accounting firm.
Pick a Niche
One of the best ways to attract new accounting clients is to specialize. Target a specific type of client by narrowing the scope of who you serve best. You can identify the type of client or the type of business that would best be served by your firm. Then, align your services to meet that client’s specific needs.
If you haven’t already picked a niche, start by identifying your strengths and your unique value proposition. Answer the question, “What makes you different from your competition?”
Next, identify who you’d like to help. Pay special attention to their pain points. You’ll need to know what your specific audience struggles with so that you can create marketing materials that speak directly to this group.
Use Content Marketing
After you’ve identified your target audience and their pain points, the next step is to start building a marketing strategy that answers the questions that they’re asking.
While some prospective clients may head to Google or other internet directories to find an accounting firm to work with, a lot of people instead try to self-remedy their pain point. Alternately, they are so confident in hiring an outside party that they research to find the perfect firm for their needs. In both of these cases, the prospective client will start with a Google search, and this is where content marketing comes in.
Content marketing simply means attracting prospective clients by creating educational content that solves their problems. For example, you can create a blog post that helps the target audience solve their problem while also highlighting your service as the solution to the audience’s problem.
There are many great ways to use content for marketing purposes. Here are the easiest ways to jump on the content marketing train:
Maintain a Blog
Remember that your prospective clients will likely start their search for an accounting firm online. They may go to Google with searches like, “Do I need an accounting firm to help me with my taxes?” Or, “Should I hire a CPA?”
You can provide answers to these questions through your blog. In fact, you can simply type up a blog post that lists all of the reasons why a prospective client should hire a CPA. The Google algorithm is getting smarter by the second. Even a question such as, “Should I hire a CPA?” can end up in Google’s local search results.
This means a prospective client in your area may discover your accounting firm by searching with a generic question like “What are the benefits of using a CPA for my taxes?” However, they likely won’t discover your accounting firm if you have not created a blog post for the term they’re searching for.
That’s just one example of how you can use your blog to attract new clients.
The more blog posts you create that speak to the needs of your clients, the better your chances of reaching them.
You can also create guides, white papers, or even case studies that show your prospective clients how your firm solves problems for your clients.
Create an Email List
If you maintain a blog, you should also create a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a free gift, usually digital, that you give away to prospective clients in exchange for them signing up to your email list.
And why would you do this?
The money is in the list.
While having a blog is great, especially because it improves your search engine visibility and can attract new clients to your firm, your blog is not enough. This is because a lot of first-time visitors will arrive on your blog, get value, then leave and never return.
It’s not that these first-time visitors don’t want to return, rather it’s that they are so busy that they simply forget to return.
However, if your visitor signs up for your email list to get a valuable freebie, then you have their permission to send marketing-related emails directly to their inbox periodically.
This is huge. It allows you to stay top-of-mind and develop a relationship with prospective clients. The more you reach out to prospective clients via email, the more trust you can build, and trust converts prospects to clients.
Improve Your Social Media Marketing
Another way to attract new clients to your accounting firm is by getting active on social media. Whether you’re using Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or some other social media platform, you can also use channels outside of your website or third-party review sites to gain exposure with your target audience.
Try not to think of social media as a bullhorn. It’s meant to be conversational. Use social media to take part in ongoing conversations with your target audience.
There are many ways that you can converse on social media. You can ask questions, you can share funny memes, or you can post links back to your recently published blog posts, just to name a few.
However, in recent years, social media has become increasingly pay-for-play. There are a lot of voices on social media, making it difficult for any business to rise to the top. To improve your chances of being seen on social media, you can do one of the following:
Pay for Promotion
You can purchase pay-per-click (PPC) ads on social media. Platforms like Facebook allow you to create campaigns that are super targeted. This allows you to reach audiences based on all sorts of demographics including age, location, and even similarity to your existing clients.
A growing trend is to partner with influencers who are speaking to the audience that you want to reach. You can create a campaign with a micro influencer, i.e. someone who has between 1000 to 10,000 followers. Pay the influencer to promote your accounting services to their audience.
Attend Networking Events
Networking events are great when you want to get exposure for your accounting firm. Networking sites such as Google, Eventbrite, and Meetup have a list of mixers in your local area. Grab a handful of business cards and head out to an event with the intention of spreading awareness for your accounting firm.
Before attending a networking event, learn as much as you can about the other attendees who may be there. This way, you can think about your approach and how your firm can be valuable to them.
Be sure to follow up with anyone who you spoke with. You never know who may either be a prospective client or a great referral source.
Ask for Referrals
Speaking of referral sources, one of the greatest endorsements you can receive is from your own clients. It’s no secret that your best marketing comes from satisfied clients. Their endorsement will mean more than even your own promises to your prospective clients.
When you have a happy client, ask them to refer others to you. Don’t just assume that they will. It’s human nature to forget or not even think about referring others, even if they’re happy with your service. But if you put the thought in their mind, your happy client is much more likely to tell others about your firm.
Upsell Your Current Clients
In addition to attracting new clients, don’t forget that you can upsell your current clients, too. Increase your client’s lifetime value by getting them to add more services, such as budgeting or forecasting. Your client is trusting you to be the accounting expert, and it’s your job to suggest services that they may never have considered otherwise.
Show the client how they will benefit from the upsell. A good selling strategy is to focus on the benefit instead of the features. In other words, don’t sell the mattress, sell the good night’s sleep.
Build Your Brand as an Employer
One often-overlooked aspect of attracting clients is retaining happy employees. Your employee sentiment can positively or negatively impact your ability to get new clients. This is one of the reasons why it’s huge for accounting firms to invest in their employees’ happiness. It must be part of your accounting firm growth strategy.
Also keep in mind that good talent is hard to find. If you’ve found quality employees, do everything in your power to retain them so that you can win a positive reputation with your clients, too.
To ensure that you remain successful, your firm’s top priority is to maintain a steady stream of new accounting clients. Use the above tips to find and appeal to new clients.
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